tranny slip/flare search no help. Experts?
I've spent the last few hours reading threads on tranny slippage and flaring, and am more confused than when I began.
Bought a 280CE a few weeks ago with 170K miles. Among the checks I made was notice that the tranny and diff had been serviced at 162K. Seemed to shift ok. Checking the tranny level cold showed it to be several inches above the full mark, but at the time I didn't know this was odd. The link arm across the top of the engine had a loose set screw, and after shortening the arm's adjustment, not only did I get firm shifting, but was getting tire squeal on both the 2-3 and 3-4 upshift along with a head snapping shift. Backed off on the link arm adjustment, and the snap and tire squeal lessened to the typical Mercedes firm "shift lurch".
Friday AM, when accelerating from a stop, the tranny slipped on the 2-3 shift; the engine RPMs (sound, as this car has no tach) rose and for a second the car moved slowly until it felt to lock into 3rd. Didn't happen again in 150 more miles of driving on Sat., and as I was having overheating problems too, I spent Sunday and Monday PM replacing the radiator. (The cracked plastic upper hose fitting simply wasn't fixable.)
All that was open after I got the radiator in was the local gas station and I bought antifreeze and a GUNK product, if I remember right named TransTune as they had no ATF on the shelf.
Drove the car 2 miles before adding the Gunk just to see if the rad connections were tight, and the tranny slipped badly. Added 3/4 of the quart of additive to the tranny while engine hot but not running, measured to the full mark and did a test drive. Seemed to shift ok.
Next morning going to work, slippage was significant both on the 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts. Got home and checked fluid level...low. ???Added the rest of the quart of Gunk stuff and it came up to the full level.
Still slipping this AM, and after a quote for a rebuilt tranny higher than I paid for the car, plus a suggestion that the additive might be the problem, I pulled into Jiffy Lube to have them flush the tranny. The first thing they did was pull the stick to find the ATF level so low it wasn't even hitting the bottom of the stick. They put in 3/4 quart of ATF, put it in gear several times with the brake on (I guess this was to get fluid circulating well) and I left without doing the flush. Driving the few blocks back to work showed no improvement. I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car and checked the stick again. It was slightly above full. Re-set the link arm again to see if the firm shift snap of before could be returned and overcome the slip. Nope, all I succeeded in doing was confuse the car more. It still slipped, but the RPMs told the car to shift again. I'm guessing on this last, but I got the sense that on the 2-3 upshift when the RPMs rose while the slipping was going on, the tranny then did the 3-4 shift, slipped some and then locked into 4th.
Back in the parking lot, I returned the link arm to the longer position, and checked the fluid level again with the engine off. It was back to the way overfull level I had when I first looked weeks ago.
The search thread hasn't given me a clear answer.
1. I was encouraged that there is talk of some vacuum adjustment that can fix this slip/flare problem, but was that just on diesels? Help?
2. Why am I overfull when cold and the level is supposed to check low, and apparantly at the right level when hot???
3. Why has it registered full sometimes and still needed two top offs in two days
4. Have I screwed up by putting in the additive and done something like slicked up the clutch face plates???
5. Remember, I "think" the tranny was serviced only 8K miles ago. There are no leaks or drips evident and no burned smell. What the heck is going on? Wouldn't slippage appear more gradually if it is just a tired transmission?
6. If there is no solution other than a tranny re-build, which I can't afford, and since I need to drive the car daily, am I doing more harm, or is there some other additive designed to address slippage that is worth using?